A love of life: winner announced for the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Catherine Wang from Hong Kong has been awarded the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet £500 Award for Poetry and Medicine for her poem†Six pills.

Catherine is currently a sophomore at Chinese International School, Hong Kong. Her creative achievements include placing 2nd place in the 2015 Hong Kong Top Story awards and being shortlisted for the 2010 and 2013 Hong Kong Young Writers' Awards.†

r Catherine Wang.jpg

Catherine Wang

About her poem†Six Pills††she said: "I was diagnosed with Lupus,†an autoimmune disease, when I was eleven. At the time, I understood little about my body and even less about what was wrong with it. In 'Six Pills', I wanted to capture the intimate landscapes of both experience and the unknown, and how the two converge in times of change. For me, this change was the point in treatment when the pills, fevers, and medical terms became inseparable from being. Writing this poem was an attempt at leaving fear behind.”

Also competing for the £500 Young Poets award were Mia Nelson, from Denver, USA for love under the scalpel, Audrey Spensley, from Avon Lake, USA for 3 poems: Dissection, Requiem for a Surgery Scar and Variations on a Craniotomy, and Amy Wolstenholme from Salisbury in England for words in the bone.

The awards were announced by Leslie Morgan OBE, DL and Tony Ahearne, patrons of the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust, which is supporting the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet Award.†


Leslie Morgan said: "We are very pleased that the Cardiovascular Research Trust is supporting this year’s Young Poet Award in the Hippocrates Prize for poetry and medicine. This Young Poet Award is an excellent way to encourage young people from around the world to take an interest in their health through poetry and I am delighted that we shall continue our support for this major award in 2017 and 2018.

Young poets 2016.jpg


Back row from left: CVRT Patrons Leslie Morgan OBE, DL, Prize organisers Donald Singer and Michael Hulse,† and CVRT Patron Tony Ahearne.
Front from left: young poets at the awards - †Amy Wolstenholme and Norviewu Dzimega.

Honorable mentions were awarded to 5 young poets: Cara Nicholson from Oundle, England for An Unwanted Visitor, Alana McDermott from Oldham, England for Letters Upon The Sea, Ally Steinberg from New York City, USA for The Jacks, Norviewu Dzimega from Orpington, England for I am and Naabil Khan from London, England for My Scars.


This year’s awards were judged by poet Si‚n Hughes. who announce the winner at an Awards Ceremony in London on Friday 15th April.

Judge Si‚n Hughes said: “Reading a young writer's work is always a huge responsibility.† Misunderstanding someone, missing the point, is such an unkind, unfriendly thing to do, especially to the young, and no one is more exposed than when they open themselves to the page.

“These young writers take on stories of illness, fear and loss, staring into some of the hardest words in the language with honesty and courage.† What struck me about all of these mentioned, was that they showed a love of words as well as a love of life.

“Those who tackled the subject of mental illness - self-harm, eating disorders, hallucination - took on a challenge as brave as those who grappled with the technical language of cancer treatments.† I was moved by words about the agonies of acne and the madness of first love as well as by stories of hospital corridors and waiting rooms.”

The international Hippocrates Prize for Young Poets is for an unpublished poem in English on a medical theme by poets aged 14 to 18 years from anywhere in the world. The 2016 Prize attracted entries from Canada, England, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Taiwan and the USA.


More on the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet shortlist and honorable mentions.

Judge Si‚n Hughes said: “Reading a young writer's work is always a huge responsibility.† Misunderstanding someone, missing the point, is such an unkind, unfriendly thing to do, especially to the young, and no one is more exposed than when they open themselves to the page.††

“These young writers take on stories of illness, fear and loss, staring into some of the hardest words in the language with honesty and courage.† What struck me about all of these mentioned, was that they showed a love of words as well as a love of life.†

“Those†who tackled the subject of mental illness - self-harm, eating disorders, hallucination - took on a challenge as brave as those who grappled with the technical language of cancer treatments.† I was moved by words about the agonies of acne and the madness of first love as well as by stories of hospital corridors and waiting rooms.”††

Previous Hippocrates Young Poet winners:

-†††††† 2013 inaugural Hippocrates Young Poets Prize -†Rosalind Jana†from Hereford Sixth Form College in England, for Posterior Instrumented Fusion for Adolescent Scoliosis;

-†††††† 2014 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize Conor McKee, Sidney†Sussex College Cambridge for I Will Not Cut for Stone;

-†††††† 2015 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize Parisa Thepmankorn from New Jersey, USA for Intraocular pressure


Notes for editors
For photos of finalists, biographies and extracts of their poems, call 07447 441666 or email†hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com
The Hippocrates Initiative – winner of the 2011 Times Higher Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts – is an interdisciplinary venture that investigates the relationship between medicine and poetry.

2016 Hippocrates Prize for Young Poets judge†Si‚n†Hughes
Si‚n
†Hughes' first collection "The Missing" (Salt, 2009) was long listed for Guardian first book of the year, and won the Seamus Heaney prize for a†first collection.† Her sequence of poems about her mother's breast cancer won second prize in the first Hippocrates awards, and she and her mother Eleanor Cooke continue to write a shared book about†this illness as treatments continue today.†† In 1998†Si‚n†set up the Young National Poetry Competition when she was working for The Poetry Society and she continues to promote young writers and to work with the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth to support the teaching of creative writing.†Si‚n†has been poet in residence†in Youth and Community Centres, a Youth Theatre, a Health Centre, and a sandwich shop, and is and is currently poet in residence in a Birmingham school when she is not teaching part time for Oxford University.†

Hippocrates Prize founders
Professor Donald Singer is a clinical pharmacologist. His interests include research on discovery of new therapies, and public understanding of drugs, health and disease. He co-authors Pocket Prescriber, the 8th edition of which will published by Taylor & Francis in the Summer of 2015.
Michael Hulse
is a poet and translator of German literature, and is Professor of creative writing and comparative literature at the University of Warwick. He is also editor of†The Warwick Review. His latest collection of poetry, Half Life, was chosen as a Book of the Year by John Kinsella.

2016 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize is supported by the†Cardiovascular Research Trust, a healthy heart charity founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation.†The charity has a particular interest in avoiding preventable heart disease through educating school students.

†© Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com